The Greater Johnstown School District employs two full-time English as a Second Language or ESL teachers to work with students whose home language is not English or students who possess limited English proficiency. The process of identifying students for these services is as follows:


Based on a child’s Home Language Survey, parental conference, and the results of his/her placement test, we make the appropriate placement of a student into English as a Second Language classes for a period of time commensurate with his or her need.  The GJSD’s ESL teachers will work with your child and other English Language Learners in a supportive, small-group setting outside of the general education English Language Arts and Reading classroom. This class will support your child’s English Language development in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  Placement into ESL is not a punitive measure, nor is it a Special Education class; however, enrollment into an ESL program is a federal requirement for your child based on the responses given on the Home Language Survey that you filled out when your child was enrolled. Please know that your child will still be receiving a high-quality English education based on the same standards as in the general education English Language Arts classroom.  Appropriate modifications and individualized instruction will be provided for any child placed in ESL to achieve the highest level of academic growth possible.


Placed children will receive ESL instruction throughout the school year leading up to the ACCESS Test, which will be given between January and March.  Results of this test will be used for monitoring and modification of your child’s ESL placement. The scores of this test will be mailed to your home in June.  If your child meets the criteria to exit the English as a Second Language program, then he or she will thereafter receive English instruction in a general education English Language Arts classroom and be monitored for academic success across the curriculum for a period of two years.


The Pennsylvania Department of Education does permit you as a parent to refuse or decline pull-out ESL instruction for your child.  Per federal requirement to allow parental refusal: “Parents have a right to decline or opt their children out of a school district’s ESL program or out of particular ESL services.”  We, however, do not recommend this as your child will benefit from our district ESL program and must still adhere to annual ACCESS testing requirements even if opted out of classroom ESL instruction.  If you wish to opt your child out of ESL instruction or receive additional information about this process, please contact one of our ESL instructors.